Friday, December 13, 2013

Chex Cereal Brittle

We have friends who are gluten free and while we love seeing them, I always find it challenging to brings snacks or foods that they can enjoy too. Upon some serious web surfing to find football worthy, gluten free snacks, we all agreed that this sounded good. And boy, was this stuff additive!  If snuggling on the couch for a holiday movie, football game or marathon of Housewives of Beverly Hills is on your weekend agenda, consider moving these babies a little out of reach so you don't consume them in one sitting....

8 cups rice Chex cereal
1 cup salted peanuts
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 300°F. Spray two 15x10x1-inch pans with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until evenly coated.  Gently heating the condensed milk may make it easier to mix.  Spread in pans in single layer.  Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown.  If not browned, stir gently and bake an additional 8 - 10 minutes, watching it carefully. 

Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

We've been craving warm, satisfying and filling dinners after long days at school and work. Add a little snow in the mix and we could eat this every week.   You can get creative and use any type of smoked sausage (we used turkey kielbasa) but it's an easy recipe that I'll have memorized soon. 

   1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Recipe and photo from Kevin & Amanda

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crockpot All Purpose Shredded Chicken

This will save your life.  Well, not like CPR or exercise or a good stiff drink but it will provide you with endless possibilies for quick and easy meals.  When I see chicken breasts on sale, I load up and make this.  Then I divide the chicken into smaller portions, freeze it and think that I'm one smart cookie. 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 dried oregano teaspoon
 Place chicken in slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken breasts with all the spices. Add chicken stock. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with two forks. Cool completely and if you want to freeze, divide into ziplock baggies. This makes just about six cups total.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tamale Casserole

School is back in session, our calendars are filled to the brim and the days are getting shorter and nights colder.  Summer is slipping away and I for one am a little sad about it.  We had our fill of summer fun but impending Fall and the routine that comes with it has snuck up on me.  Again, just a little melancholy but this casserole makes me happy.  Why?  My older daughter told me it was the best meal I've ever made.  Now to be fair, she had just come from a long day of school and an intense volleyball game.  And it was way past dinner time so therefore, fried beetle dung also may have been the best thing she'd ever eaten.  But it is a rock solid choice if you need a change up from the typical taco night.  Not a morsel was left at our house!

6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (think that cute little Jiffy box)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 pound ground beef (turkey or chicken are fine too)
 salt and pepper, to taste

Top with fresh chopped cilantro & sour cream if desired.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the combined cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until just set.
While the cornbread is baking, cook your ground chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary, and salt and pepper the chicken.
Remove the cornbread from the oven and pierce all over with a fork.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the corn bread.
Top with the chicken and remaining cheese.
Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley and serve.

Recipe & pic from Buns In My Oven, a great resource for all things yummy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sour Cream Pancakes

These are the pancakes from my childhood.  When I eat these I'm in my Lanz nightgown, sitting in front of the t.v. watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother.  Funny how food can transport you back in time.  They are soft, tender and just delicious.  I love them plain but of course, the kids really love them with some mini-chocolate chips added in. 

1 cup Sour Cream
7 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 whole Large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Butter, For Frying And Serving

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Set aside.  In a separate small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream with the dry ingredients until just barely combined.  Whisk in the egg mixture until just combined.  Heat a griddle over medium-low heat and melt some butter in the pan. Drop batter by 1/4 cup servings onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another minute.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman, of course!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Crockpot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

I consider myself a decent cook and can get edible meal on the table to feed my hungry masses but I have to admit, I'm terrible at cooking pork tenderloin.  Maybe because I have a fear of eating raw pork but I tend to overcook it and the result if always a dry flavorless hunk of grey meat.  Not anymore!  This pork was tender, juicy and the flavor was good on it's own but it you have leftovers, it will stretch into other meals nicely. 

1 2-3 pound boneless pork tenderloin
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Place pork tenderloin into the insert of your slow cooker. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over pork and set the timer for your slow cooker. (4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.)

Once pork tenderloin has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs into a serving dish. Break apart lightly with two forks and then ladle about ¼ – ½ cup of gravy over pork.  Store remaining gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for another use.

Recipe from Add a Pinch

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Creamy Corn Pizza

When I saw this pizza I could think of nothing else all day.  Now we're a meal planning family which means that when I saw this recipe from Pink Parsley I had already had a plan for dinner.  But once I saw this pizza I knew that we had to switch gears and try this.  I was a little sad that I didn't have any frozen or fresh homemade pizza dough but I improvised and stopped and picked up fresh dough (not the kind you roll out from the can please!) and whipped this easy summer pie up for dinner.  I was not disappointed!  Think creamed corn meets cheesy pizza goodness. 

1 lb pizza dough
cornmeal, for sprinkling
2 large ears of fresh corn
1/4  cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for brushing the dough
kosher salt
1 large tomato - find the best summer one you can find! 
6 to 8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 Tbs shredded fresh basil

Preheat the oven (with a pizza stone in it if you have one) to 500 degrees Farenheit for at least 30 minutes.

Sprinkle a large square (about 14-16 inches) of parchment paper with cornmeal, and pull and stretch the dough into a large circle, oval, or rectangle. Brush the outer edge with olive oil and set aside.

In a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of the corn, the parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Puree until mostly smooth, but leaving a few smaller chunks of corn. Reserve any remaining corn for adding to the pizza.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch rounds. If the tomatoes are large, cut each slice in half. Arrange in a single layer over a kitchen towel or paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow to sit 5 minutes, then gently blot with another towel.  The tomotoes will add liquid to the pizza so it's a good idea to get some out prior to adding to pizza.

Spread the corn puree over the dough, then top with the sliced tomatoes. Arrange the mozzarella evenly over the top, then sprinkle the reserved corn over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the pizza and parchment to the oven and cook 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, and the crust is browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the basil on top and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Broccoli Rabe Panini

Okay, so let's not make a big deal but I'm back to blogging and posting some delicious recipes we've discovered.  I know, I know, I've taken more than a few months off but needless to say I have been cooking and finding new recipes to love.  Just not finding the time to give them proper love.  This garlicky masterpiece is a great when you crave cheesy comfort food but want some healthy greens tossed into the mix. 

1/2 pound broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh mozzarella, drained and thinly sliced
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto (could also use sun-dried pesto)
4 large soft crusty sandwich rolls

Bring a gallon of water to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli rabe and 2 tablespoons salt. Cook, stirring constantly until water returns to a boil, about 4-5 minute or until tender. Transfer broccoli to bowl of ice water and let sit 2 minutes. Drain well and chop into 1-inch pieces.

Add garlic, pepper flakes, and olive oil to a small skillet and heat over low heat until garlic is sizzling, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Add broccoli rabe and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Split sandwich rolls. Spread a few tablespoons of pesto on top side of rolls. Spread broccoli rabe on bottom sides and top with mozzarella. Season with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Close sandwiches and toast on a panini press or in a large skillet weighted down until crisp and melted.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella

Can I just say that Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen is a genius and this recipe is a  prime example of her talents.  This rustic dish full of flavor and I'm always looking for ways to sneak in eggplant into meals.  My husband says he detests it but seems to eat this.  This can be served as a main dish for a hearty side for grilled steaks, chicken, etc.

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 celery stalk, in a 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, rinsed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 to 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or more to taste, up to the zest of a whole lemon
4 ounces mozzarella, firmer is better here, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 1/2 ounces parmesan, grated
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse it well and pat it dry on towels.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and once the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring pieces occasionally. Transfer fried eggplant to paper towels to drain. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes before adding onion and garlic. Cook together for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Off the heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon table salt, many grinds of black pepper and the stock and mix well.

Transfer mixture to an 8×11-inch (about 2 quarts) ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then bake 20 minutes without the foil.

Recipe and pic from Smitten Kitchen

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Avalanche Bars

Warning, if you make these you may be compelled to eat the whole pan.  Seriously, you've been warned because these are just so darn good. 

1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips or white chocolate melts
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Lightly grease 8x8" baking dish. Set aside.
In large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips for 1 minute. After 1 minute, stir, then microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring between intervals, until completely melted. Once melted, add the peanut butter and stir well to combine. Add the Rice Krispies and then let cool for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the marshmallows and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool completely before cutting. You can put into the refrigerator for about an hour which helps in cutting clean squares.   

Recipe all over Pinterest

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mexican Hot Corn Dip

Since the Superbowl is right around the corner, I thought about this wonderful dip to help me pass the time since I generally have no idea which teams are on the field and really only look forward to the snacks and time with friends or family.  This is one bowl of sinful cheesy dippy delight and so have lots of corn chips and cold beer ready and may the best team win.


  • 2 11-oz can Mexican corn, drained
  • 2 small cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Corn chips, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9- 13- by 2-inch casserole dish.
In a medium bowl, mix the corn, chiles, cheeses and mayonnaise until fully combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until bubbly around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve the dip warm from the oven with corn chips.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chicken Tequila Burgers with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

The temps have been hovering in the single digits for days and quite frankly, I'm just plain sick of winter.  I know I'm not alone when I say that I am now yearning for sun, sand and even mosquito bites would be a welcomed diversion from boots, icy driveways and shivering commutes to work.  So imagine my surprise to stumble across this recipe that made me feel like a we had a bite of summer for dinner.  Let's face it - anything with tequila makes me happy.  These were a huge hit with the family but be warned that they have a slight kick so you may want to reduce the jalapeno if you don't like any heat.  The cilantro lime mayo is also delish so be sure to take the extra time to make it as well.

1 pound ground chicken breast
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or 1/4 cup uncooked regular or quick-cooking oats
 2 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon lime zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

Sliced bell peppers
Sliced onions
5 hamburger buns

Cilantro Lime Mayo:
3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon (or a little less) salt and dash of white pepper

Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat.  We used an indoor grill. 

Pulse ground chicken, cilantro, garlic, chives and jalapeño pepper in a food processor 3 to 4 times or until combined. Add panko or oats, tequila, lime zest, salt, pepper, and soy sauce; pulse until combined. Shape into 5 patties.

Grill, covered with grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°; remove from grill. Keep warm. Grill sliced bell peppers and onions until slightly charred and tender.  An indoor grill grill works great too!

Serve burgers, bell peppers, and onions on buns with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise.

Pic and recipe slightly adapted from from Southern Living, October 2012